Inside Politics: Why potholes are getting us hot under the collar
The Citizen's Public Affairs reporter Mike Wilkinson's weekly look at the world of local politics:
PEOPLE get hot under the collar about all sorts of issues affecting their lives, but nothing perhaps more than dreaded potholes.
Council purse strings seem to get tighter every year but there's always money to fill a few holes here and there.
In fact Gloucestershire County Council is dishing out £20,000 to each of its councillors to spend on highway improvements in their respective areas.
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Grange and Kingsway county councillor Barry Kirby announced last month that he is spending his money on improving the condition along some 16 roads in the Grange area including Bodiam Avenue.
But a war of words has broken out between Mr Kirby and city MP Richard Graham who boasted about the improvements in his recent e-mail newsletter to constituents.
In it he said: "Constituents often raise road condition issues. It was clear in the spring that Bodium Avenue and other streets in Grange in particular badly needed work.
"I made a commitment to residents on that and I'm glad the Gloucestershire County Council is delivering on what was needed."
At first glance it seems that we have two politicians claiming credit for the same job.
But perhaps Mr Graham is talking about a different road? Or was that just a spelling mistake in his newsletter?
Mr Kirby took to his online blog to proclaim that it was his allocation and he hadn't heard from Mr Graham before deciding how to splash the cash.
He said: "Slightly mystified, I opened the newsletter only to find that he is trying to take credit for my councillor allocation of highways repair money.
"He claims that the work done was from his input when he canvassed the area in the spring.
"Let me be quite clear, he has not written, phoned, commented or communicated any information or preference to me about how I used my highways allocation.
"So in this case, I have to put the record straight, the potholes in Grange are not being fixed because of input from Mr Graham because he did not offer any.
"They were fixed because of input by residents to me."
Labour cronies have jumped on the bandwagon to attack Mr Graham on his Twitter pages.
Maurice Blakeway seethed, I mean, tweeted: "Why are you trying to get all the credit for hard work Barry Kirby has done on potholes being filled in on the Grange."
Mr Graham hit back saying: "Success of Gloucester today is action not abuse. Am delighted when councillors also do their bit."
This enraged Mr Blakeway further. He tweeted back to say: "What is a matter with you? I am stating a fact. Barry does a bloody good job and is Labour and what are you trying to prove."
The rant ended with another tweet telling Mr Graham to 'get a life'.
Who would have thought that potholes could get so hairy?
Sounds like Mr Graham has been told to 'get on yer bike' by his Labour rivals.
And that's exactly what he's done.
Mr Graham recently enlisted local cyclists to get on their bicycles and take a tour of Gloucester.
With some funding becoming available to improve the city's cycle network, Mr Graham has a bold vision of what could be achieved here and thumbs up to him, he has led on this brilliantly.
He said: "Longer term I'd like a bolder plan to make our city one of the most user friendly cycling small cities in the country."
You only need to go to mainland Europe to see that they are cycling mad. My recent visit to Austria proved that. They love cycling and the roads were quiet with little in the way of cars.
Looking closer to home, the Boris Bikes in London are fantastic. There are thousands of people whizzing around our capital on these bikes.
With the right vision Mr Graham could be instrumental in getting us on our bikes.
Let's just hope the potholes have been filled in first.